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Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

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many names thou shalt be admitted by my hands to the most holy secrets of the mysteries/
"Then, placing his right hand in mine, the kindly old man led me to the very doors of the great shrine, and after celebrating with solemn rite the service of the opening of the gates and performing the morning sacrifice, he brought forth from the hidden places of the shrine certain books with titles written in undecipherable letters.
"He then led me back to the temple and, the day being more than half spent, set me at the feet of the goddess herself, and after that he had confided certain secrets to me, things too holy for utterance, openly before all present^bade me for ten consecutive days to abstain from all pleasures of the table, to eat no living thing, and to drink no wine.
"All these precepts I observed with reverent abstinence, and at last the day came for my dedication to the goddess. The sun was sloping westward and bringing on the evening, when lo! on all sides crowds of the holy initiates flocked round me, each, after the ancient rite, honouring me with diverse gifts. Lastly, all the uninitiate were excluded, a linen robe that no man had yet worn was cast about me, the priest caught me by the hand and led me to the very heart of the holy place.
"Perchance, eager reader, thou burnest to know what then was said, what done. I would tell thee, were it lawful for me to tell, and thou shouldst know all, were it lawful for thee to hear. But both tongue and ear would be infected with like guilt did I gratify such rash curiosity. Yet since, perchance, it is pious craving that vexes thee, I will not torment thee by prolongation of thine anguish. Hear, then, and believe, for what I tell is true. I drew nigh to the confines of death, I trod the threshold of Proserpine, I was borne through all the elements and returned to earth again. I saw the sun gleaming with bright splendour at dead of night, I approached the gods above, and the gods below, and worshipped them face to face. Behold, I have told thee things of which, though thou hast heard them, thou must yet know naught."
A year later, Lucius was initiated into the Mysteries of Osiris, which were higher.
Among the few other foreigners who were permitted to receive the Egyptian initiation were Plato, Pythagoras, Thales, Lycurgus, Solon, lamblichus, Plutarch and Herodotus. The last-named, in his writings, alludes to them with extreme